6 How To…Update a Light Fixture

>> Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Let’s all be honest with ourselves. No amount of paint could possibly make the original light fixture in my kitchen even remotely acceptable, but with a little tweaking a definite update was in order.

Let’s get started! The original plan was a simple switch out of the lamp shade. Sounds easy enough right? I thought so…


So $14.99 later, I was cruising home from Garden Ridge with the perfect shade in tow.

But after taking a closer look, the only way to remove the lamp shade was to detach the fixture from the ceiling and pull the wire through.

image image

Not a huge deal, just a but more work. I’ve gotcha covered.

FIRST: Make sure the electrical current to the fixture is turned off. Use a current tester to double and triple check.

SECOND: I am not a licensed electrician and by no means an expert of the subject. What I am pretty good at is sharing my personal around-the-house experiences with you fine folks. If you feel uncomfortable in any way at tackling electrical projects like this one—as minor as it may be to a pro—trust your gut and call in a little assistance. Whew! Now that I am fully disclosed, let’s get back to business…


unscrew the canopy to reveal the electrical box…



Remove the screws securing the fixture to the box…

The wires connecting the light fixture to the wiring in the house will be twisted together and secured with wire connectors, or in my case, black electrical tape. Old black electrical tape.

Untwist the wires and lower the light fixture—before I detached the wires I marked which wire was paired with which. Perfectly fine for my purposes since I was going to reuse the same fixture, but if you are replacing an old fixture with a newer one, follow the directions for fixture specifications.

Before you start dismantling the fixture into dozens of parts and pieces, take lots of before pictures. Not only will you want to admire all of your handiwork for a job well done, but you’ll have backup in the event you can’t quite remember which part goes where when the time comes to reassemble. 

From here, remove each piece until you are left with the bare bones.

Time to bring back the lamp shade! String the wire from the underside of the shade and secure with the piece previously designated to hold the old shade in place…


Lovely! Now let’s get this bad boy up and running.

With the electrical current still shut off, retwist the fixture wires to the wires in the electrical box in a clockwise motion and secure with wire connectors.



Tuck the wires and connectors into the box and mount our old-made-new light fixture using the same screws we removed at the beginning.

Screw the original canopy back in place, turn the power back on and enjoy!

Much better! For around $15 this light fixture bought a first class ticket out of 1962.


Budget Breakdown:  
Light fixture FREE—with 30 year mortgage
Lamp shade $14.99
Total $14.99



Kristen,  August 17, 2010 at 7:37 AM  

At least something came 'free' with your mortgage!

Crazy Wienerdog Lady August 17, 2010 at 12:37 PM  

you know what else you could do? You could get a hollow piece of metal pipe and string the cord through it and it would be awesomer! Of course you'd have to find a piece small enough. And the "Free with 30 Year mortgage" cracked me up

Cara @ Live the Home Life August 17, 2010 at 12:46 PM  

That is a great idea! I couldn't stand the chain link that was hiding the cord originally, so it had to go. The metal pipe is a great idea. Look at you go, crafty lady!


Alycia Wicker August 17, 2010 at 6:31 PM  

You're funny!

Light fixture FREE—with 30 year mortgage

I guess I'll start looking at the items around my house in a different way. :-p

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